By on March 12, 2013

The Chevrolet Volt is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, followed by Toyota’s plug-in Prius and Nissan’s Leaf, Bloomberg says.

Global EV Deliveries 2012
Chevrolet Volt 30,090
Toyota plug-in Prius 27,181
Nissan Leaf 25,435

Total sales of electric vehicles are said to have exceeded 100,000.

Carmakers and politicians hoped for much higher sales. The U.S. accounted for 46 percent of global sales of electric vehicles. Japan and Europe were tied for second place with 23 percent.

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124 Comments on “Volt Becomes World’s Best-Selling EV...”


  • avatar

    The VOLT is a better choice than the Tesla Model S, but only because of the gas backup engine. Tesla is determined to keep their cars electric-only, but GM knows that EV’s aren’t practical this day in age. That’s also why the LEAF is doing poorly.

    Regardless what the enthusiasts think, the lack of a gas generator means that poor charging behavior can always be met by a situation where the driver runs out of energy and can’t easily get to a charging point. There are gas stations EVERYWHERE.

    I love the Model S more than the Volt specifically for its interior space. The interior material quality is below that in the Big 3′s full sized sedans, but I’m sure Model S 2.0 will improve on that.

    I borrowed a Model S Performance for 2 weeks and LOVED it, but it made my back hurt on the longest drives – unlike other luxury cars. Hopefully they’ll get seats as good as the Cadillac XTS.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Another reason the Volt is the clear choice for most people is servicing capability. Most cities, especially here in Canada have no Tesla dealership/service facility that I know of. Chevrolet must have at least a dozen per city. And I think that is the real reason a Volt would be purchased over a Tesla. Until Tesla has its dealer/service network properly rolled out I’m afraid the Model S will remain a local phenomenon, even with its lofty aspirations to be a world car. Unfortunately for Tesla, we don’t all live in SoCal…

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      “Regardless what the enthusiasts think, the lack of a gas generator means that poor charging behavior can always be met by a situation where the driver runs out of energy and can’t easily get to a charging point. There are gas stations EVERYWHERE.”

      Seems to me the Blacksmiths and Farriers said the same thing about the automobile circa 1900, before a ‘filling station’ was to be found on every corner. Give EV a bit more time and technology and we’ll see the gas station change to meet its new customer base.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The problem isn’t with the availability of stations, as there is electricity everywhere, but the re-fueling rate. Simply installing plugs at gas stations won’t solve the issue.

        This is why the Volt works better in under real world applications and the Model S is basically a wealthy person’s toy with somewhat limited uses.

        • 0 avatar

          “The problem isn’t with the availability of stations, as there is electricity everywhere, but the re-fueling rate. Simply installing plugs at gas stations won’t solve the issue.

          This is why the Volt works better in under real world applications and the Model S is basically a wealthy person’s toy with somewhat limited uses.

          WHY DON’T PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE SIMPLE CONCEPTS???

          Thank You.

          • 0 avatar

            H. sapiens. Big brains. Don’t know how to use ‘em.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            David Holzman – “H. sapiens. Big brains. Don’t know how to use ‘em.”

            Just the way the government likes ‘em.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            “WHY DON’T PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE SIMPLE CONCEPTS???”

            It’s not that we don’t understand, it’s that we don’t care.

            Not everyone has the same needs. The range limitations on the Leaf are real, and the real range (based on the charging recommendations in the owners manual) is about 80% of the advertised EPA range — so it’s a 55 mile car in real life. The range limits on the Tesla, too, but not a showstopper for their customers, it would seem. I know some people in the Tesla demographic, and they usually take airlines for any trip over 150-some miles. I can’t relate, but that’s what they do, so my dislike of airline travel doesn’t figure in to it.

            I’d love to own a Leaf, and it would work wonderfully as a commuter car in my household fleet. I live close to work and I’m a dad, so I don’t go on road trips without a lot of planning — so the Leaf would be a great way to get to work/daycare/stores on most days, and then we can pack up the minivan and load the kid(s) when it’s time to go on a road-trip. The only drawback to owning an electric car with the limitations of the Leaf in my situation is that I actually have to buy the darned thing.

            I gather from your comment, however, that your situation is quite different from mine, and that the limitations of an electric vehicle are not suitable for the details of your particular situation. The fact that EVs aren’t all things to all people doesn’t undermine their usefulness. If an EV isn’t a good fit for your situation, then don’t buy one!

      • 0 avatar

        Yet somehow Bertha Benz was able to find sufficient benzene to complete her famous trip and return the Benz Patent-Motorwagen to her husband Karl. There may not have been a gasoline station on every corner, but one reason why Bertha’s husband as well as Daimler, Maybach, Buick, King, Olds, Ford, LeLand, Lanchester and the Dodge bros pursued the development of the gasoline engine was that gasoline was readily available, at apothecaries where it was sold as a dry cleaning fluid, if not at your corner filling station.

        One advantage that gasoline had more than a century ago is the same one that is the real barrier to widescale consumer acceptance of EVs: it’s an outstanding liquid fuel with an energy density that just can’t be matched with other practical power sources. The problem with EVs and other alternative energy for cars is that gasoline is just too damn good of a fuel.

        It might be a chicken/egg situation, but if EVs really do find consumer acceptance, we’ll indeed see charging stations proliferate.

        Of course, back in the day, early EV owners who needed an emergency charge could grab some electrons from the overhead streetcar wires.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          One advantage that gasoline had more than a century ago is the same one that is the real barrier to widescale consumer acceptance of EVs: it’s an outstanding liquid fuel with an energy density that just can’t be matched with other practical power sources. The problem with EVs and other alternative energy for cars is that gasoline is just too damn good of a fuel.

          Agreed. Gasoline works. That’s why we use it. Energy density is also why solar and wind power are pipe dreams in most applications as well.

          • 0 avatar

            gasoline is indeed the magic fuel–it’s incredible!!! And EVs are far from ready for prime time.

            But the supply of solar and wind in the US are increasing faster than anything except natural gas, because both are practical for generation of electricity, and solar for heat. Conventional energy sources are very heavily subsidized.

            http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2012/01/fossil_fuel_subsidies_and_global_warming_we_could_cut_the_climate_change_problem_in_half_simply_by_abolishing_inefficient_fossil_fuel_subsidies_.html

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Gasoline is truly an excellent fuel!

            But using it has environmental/climate/military consequences, and it’s a finite resource so there’s a little less of it every time we use it.

            Personally, I’m trying to save gasoline for jobs that truly require it. I’ve cut my fuel usage by 90% over the last 5 years or so by making an intelligent choice about where to live. I’ve cut out gasoline powered lawn equipment. And I like to bike to work when I can. Next step is the electric car, but that’s expensive and kinda the icing on the cake.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            @david holzman
            You have ignored the energy density argument in your response.

            It doesn’t matter. Let’s try eliminating all the subsidies for all energy production and all vehicle production and sales and see how things shake out. Your windmills, solar farms, ethanol plants, EV sales, unicorn ranches, will all shut down. Oil and gas production and will be unaffected.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          Agree to your argument, but all are forgetting the ‘technology’ quotient of my original statement. There are significant changes in solar panel technology to make them flexible, lighter and able to be placed and used in areas unthought before with higher yield rates. Its obviously not there yet, but who in 1900 could’ve envisioned an Interstate system with wireless access where everyone owned a car that could rocket along at 70 mph? We stand on the shoulders of giants and can’t remember how we got there.

          @RS, Bertha Benz didnt just hop in the BpMW and just get out there happening to fall in upon lucky apothocary shops for gas anymore than Napoleon just happened upon supplies and forage on his campaign to Austerlitz. Part of the genius of both was in the unseen careful planning and preparation for the mission to be successful. I do agree that as more consumers demand better electrical access, the more you’ll see someone with the next great idea of how to serve them.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          “The problem with EVs and other alternative energy for cars is that gasoline is just too damn good of a fuel.”

          For a comparable carbon-free fuel, ammonia (NH3) would work well for a solid-oxide fuel cell which would result in no smog-forming emissions (just N2 and H2, and electricity). Carbon chains hold many more H atoms tho, but counterbalancing that would be electric drivetrains’ inherent efficiency advantages.

          Or, use that SOFC with gas, diesel, CNG, etc. Even if folks have sand in their snizz about the carbon emisisons, again the inherent efficiency of electric motors would enable reduced carbon use vs a comparable combustion engine.

          Here’s hoping we see those SOFCs (with steam reformulation to capture more efficiency, say 60+% for the system) coming available in the next few years..

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Charging stations are pretty common in many areas already. I went from Seattle to Portland last weekend for an event. Along the way I stopped for dinner at a Burgerville, a Portland OR based chain, what was hanging on the side of the building but a Tesla Charger. I immediately thought of my friend who was also making the trip but in his Leaf. Low and behold I walked into the place and there he was. His Leaf was parked across the street at the free fast charger located there. He checked his phone and it showed the battery was at 80% SOC enough to make to the next free fast charger outside of Portland. All told his trip did take about an hour longer than mine thanks to his two 1/2 hour stops for charging, though he was charged enough for the next 3 days of driving and to get back to that second fast charger.

          Around the Seattle area all Wallgreens stores have chargers, most Fred Meyers with gas stations do too. The I-5 corridor has them frequently enough that a Leaf owner could make it from Seattle to at least northern CA. The local hospital has 2, the parking for the football and baseball stadiums in Seattle have 5, the garage for the Trail blazer’s area has 10. Yes there are a bunch of tree huggers out here on the left coast so the amount of chargers his higher than average but they are comming.

          • 0 avatar
            nikita

            Have you checked if you could really drive a Leaf from Seattle to San Diego and find enough fast charging stations? I dont think I can even make that drive with the CNG Civic. We almost got stranded driving the CNG Crown Vic from LAX to SFO.

            While the infrastructure for gasoline cars spread quickly and widely in the early 20th Century, nothing seems to happen quickly today. Maybe it is because gasoline (and diesel) are nearly ideal transportation fuels.

            When the railroads went from steam (and some significant miles of electric) to diesel in the 1940′s, the infrastructure became far simpler.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I haven’t but the next time I see my friend who owns the Leaf and made a Seattle to San Diego and back in an Electric S-10 that his friend converted towing a “range trailer” that they built I’ll ask him if he has investigated it. The S-10 trip was almost 2 years ago and it is set up to charge very fast so much of their charging was done and RV parks save for one charge at the Tesla factory. With the range trailer it has a ~600 mile range so the charges were done overnight while they slept except for the boost at Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            Vatcha

            The big question is how does this scale? My office is on a good sized I-5 interchange. There are two gas stations there. The smaller one has 8 bays. If you use 5 minutes refueling time they can handle 96 cars/hour peak. They probably average more like 60 per hour. If you use 30 minute recharge time, to handle 60 cars/hour you would need 30 bays and enough power coming into the facility to handle it.

            Right now with a charger here and a charger there it seems sufficient, but what happens if there are 10 times more EVs? What happens if you pull up and the charger is being used and it may be 30 minutes before you can get on? Will all these places with one or two chargers be able to add a sufficient number? Will your choice of where you shop or eat depend on who has an open charger?

          • 0 avatar

            >>>a Leaf owner could make it from Seattle to at least northern CA

            yeah, but with all the recharging the leaf has to do, in my 20s and 30s I could have made it faster on my bicycle.

            I’m all for electricity, but unless and until the ranges are a reliable 300 miles, and recharging takes 10 minutes, they are not going to be ready for prime time. I hope they get there, but I’m not going to bet on it (although I’m not going to bet against it, either.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            nikita,

            Check out this site:

            http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/

      • 0 avatar
        blowfish

        Tt will work great only if one can charge a batt up in as much time we take a leak.

        Tesla will take longer to charge than one’s having a montezuma’s revenge.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        Nah, before fueling stations existed, you could buy cans of gasoline at your local hardware store or pharmacy – and those WERE on every street corner. That’s how cars were fueled, along with stationary gasoline engines, farm machinery, and the like. Cars were built to use gasoline, kerosine, petroleum distillate, and the like partially because it was already readily available from stores in every town.

        You still can’t just go buy a can of electricity and dump it into the battery and drive away in minutes.

    • 0 avatar

      A Tesla Model S is a car for enthusiasts, with a lot of driving fun baked into the equation.

      As far as I know, this is not true of the Volt, Prius or Leaf.

      D

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Volt and Leaf have fairly reasonable amounts of fun due to the nature of electric drivetrains, depending on what you are doing with them. On a racetrack? Probably not. On a commute? Not too bad.

        Also, driving in ‘Low’ on a Volt (which is just increased regeneration mode) helps make the braking feel less hybrid-y IMO, except in panic-stop situations.

  • avatar

    I find this statement not worthy of a comment, I don’t believe it either!

    • 0 avatar

      Economics 101: “When you subsidize something, you get more of it”.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And the Leaf doesn’t have the same subsidy? The Prius Plug-In doesn’t get a subsidy?

        • 0 avatar

          Subsidies and Advertising are everything. I have yet to see a single LEAF advertisement (though I’m sure they exist).

          The videos on my Youtube of the Tesla Model S almost all start with the Volt ads.

          I’m not mad – I’ve made over $600 on em!

          Thanks GM!!!

          Or should I be thanking the American taxpayer?

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            No offense to you bigtruckseriesreview, but I’m assuming by your handle that you’re not the type to watch or listen to programs those that want a fully electric car would purvey. I’ve seen a few Leaf commercials; still not something I want to buy right now, but its a thought.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            You never saw the Leaf polar bear ad? REALLY? You’ve never seen the Prius family ads that show the Prius, V, C and Plug-in and call each model out.

            http://youtu.be/ZFrvxjjrdVo

            There is an ad before the Leaf ad

            http://youtu.be/Nn__9hLJKAk

            Compilation of global Nissan Leaf ads

            http://youtu.be/Rs-3xXYGBa4

            http://youtu.be/Rs-3xXYGBa4

            and in Japan…

            http://youtu.be/Rs-3xXYGBa4

            Nissan has and still does advertise the Leaf

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The Prius PHEV does not get much of a subsidy due to its extremely short all EV range.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Tesla S – $7,000 – 140 to 260 mile range
            Volt – $7,000 – 38 mile range
            Leaf – $7,000 – 75 mile range
            Mitsubisi iMev – $7,000 – I know the range is low
            Fusion Plug-In – $4,000 – 20 mile range
            Prius Plug-In – $2,500 – 12-15 mile range

            I did say above that the Leaf gets the “same” and the Prius-Plug in gets a subsidy.

  • avatar
    redav

    I’m surpised that Europe isn’t making a stronger push for EVs. Generally smaller cars, higher fuel prices, shorter driving distances, and greater emphasis on CO2 emissions would seem to make Europe a prime market for EVs. After all Germany is the poster child for solar power acceptance.

    Perhaps someone more familiar with European culture can answer if they have a much lower rate of multiple car ownership, meaning they can’t spare a car just for commuting and/or urban travel, or if they have some infrastructure issues.

    • 0 avatar

      Just guessing,but I’d assume extremely high price for what is in essence a city commuter car in cities that have a long history of functional mass transit systems.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        What he said ^^. Cars are very expensive, and driving is really just an added convenience. Mostly just used for long distance since public transportation is fantastic.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        You might be right about the effect of public transit. However, all cars in Europe seem to be priced like premium cars, and it’s not like they are that much cheaper in the US, so I’m not sure that cost is a deciding factor.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    How is Volt an electric vehicle when it has the IC engine? Hardly a proper comparison to the other two. Is it also a four-door coupe?

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      This.

      Wouldn’t it be more fair to compare Volt against regular hybrid Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid, and all the other hybrids on the market? Sure it’s a different kind of hybrid philosophy, but comparing it to real EV is not fair, since it has a perfectly polluting ICE ‘range extender’.

      And Volts sales number matching these competitors are about as likely as Dan Akerson becomes the next pope.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        No, because the Volt and plug-in versions of the Prius and C-Max are capable of electric-only operations. Granted, a trip of any distance requires liquid fuel, but it is possible to operate them entirely on the grid.

        Looked at it within that context, it’s no surprise that the Volt has the largest sales. It offers the longest electric-only range and, thus, is much more likely to operate in electric-only mode.

        Regular hybrids are really only gas vehicles with energy-recovery capability to improve efficiency. While the technology is almost identical to a range-extender electric vehicle, it is, from a functional viewpoint, a very different animal.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Obviously, “EV” is being loosely defined.

      If “EV” means “plug-in”, then that’s what Bloomberg should be saying.

      If “EV” means “the wheels are driven by an electric motor sometimes”, then the Prius has been the clear winner for years.

      If I put gas in a Volt, I never have to worry about its EV shortcomings.

      If I only drive a Volt in EV mode, I’ve wasted my money and should have bought a Leaf.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        From the list, it appears to be cars that could, in theory, not require any gas because they can be plugged in and charged.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        I think the Leaf remains the cumulative top-selling EV, at 50k+. The headline is misleading, because the chart only applies to 2012.

        But the Volt will likely surpass this, if you classify the Volt as an EV (which I don’t, because the Volt can operate without plugging in).

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I think you need to rethink your comment. Last I read the Prius Plug-In had an ICE under the hood and limitations on full electric operation (e.g. certain speed)

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        You are right! I had no idea Prius PI had an ICE! And Toyota’s website calls it a hybrid! Which further supports that Leaf is an electric vehicle and Volt and Prius are hybrids with bigger battery packs than other hybrids.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The Volt is a Series Hybrid. The Prius is a Parallel Hybrid.

          There is a difference, and it is more than a nuance.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrain

          The eHow article calls out the EV-1 as an example of a “series” hybrid. That is only technically true as GM built a variant with a range extender (never sold). Think of it as father of the Volt. With that said the original EV1 was a pure electric, other than the Frankenversion that was developed.

          • 0 avatar
            Stumpaster

            In either scenario, you can pull up to a gas station and continue your trip after a 3 minute refuel. That’s how they should be judged on sales – can you continue your trip after a gas refuel, or are you stuck for several hours at a charging station if you want to go further. That’s all that matters to consumers.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            No, I don’t think that all that matters to consumers is “refueling in 3 minutes.”

            People like to talk about that, but the reality is that cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices take a long time to recharge, yet that hasn’t hindered their acceptance. The fact is that people easily accommodate charging into their schedule. They do not let their phones get to empty before making a several-hour long conferences call expecting to ‘fill up’ for a couple of minutes in the middle.

            And FWIW, how is going out of your way to stand around at a gas station more convenient than simply going straight home and plugging it in inside the garage while you do other things?

            No, the real barrier to acceptance is cost. They can cost $10k+ more up front than comparable ICE cars. (However, the Focus Electric can be leased at about the same price as its equivalent ICE version, but good luck finding one).

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Because it’s an extended-range EV.

  • avatar
    analoca

    Redav,

    Reason for the limited success of EV’s in Europe should be mainly attributable to their high prices compared to similar gas fueled vehicles. Only those countries where generous incentives to the purchase of EV’s are provided, aka Holland, have some volume of EV’s on their roads.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Bertel’s hands shaking and skin tingling while preparing this for release. It’s your step to recovering from anti-GM bias. :)

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    It’s over NINE THOUSAAAAAAANNNNDDDDDDD….

    And what was Pres. Obama’s goal for electric vehicles again? (snicker)

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Technically, the Volt is a fine engineering accomplishment.

    Too bad GM listened to clueless brainless business types for all those years and were properly rewarded by customers bailing out from the worst cr*p evah.

    However, I’ll never purchase from gubmit motors and will point my monies at other car companies more deserving of survival.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      You realize all car companies have gotten vast amounts of money from the governments of the various markets they compete in? Just say “I hate GM”. No market is truly a free market and I’d rather have the government pour money into a corporation that’s got a legitimate purpose and actual survivability instead of pipedreams and overseas “contractors”.

      Good for GM for being the first to the market with the best EV solution available currently. Glad the market is rewarding it. I do see quite a few out on the road now.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “I’d rather have the government pour money into a corporation that’s got a legitimate purpose and actual survivability instead of pipedreams and overseas “contractors”.”

        Myke,

        Why is the government pouring money into any corporation? That is not the government’s job. Why are you functioning as an apologist for the ‘too big to fail’ mantra that will repeat itself again? After all, GM, like the banks, was given this label.

        I’d rather have the government pour money into failing infrastructure because that is the government’s job. At least that will be here in 30 years. GM’s longevity is much more in question.

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          Jkross- I agree with you, unfortunately our government is run by a bunch of greedy idiots that are hellbent on wasting our money. If our money isn’t going to the places it really needs to be (which it isn’t, clearly) I guess Im just saying I’d rather pay for a few idiots to get second chances at GM than for another solyndra or defense contractor vacation in Dubai. But yes, id rather have the money in our roads and education and all that jazz, ideally. All that said, I wouldn’t let a bailout loan keep me from considering a product, especially one that was being developed before the loan was ever thought of and the product offers the best solution to the current EV shortcomings.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      and of course, since you hate bailouts, you use your mattress as your bank and have no credit cards because too big to fail was a load….

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        What?? Doesn’t your Sealy Postureperfect make for a suitable savings plan??

        My great grandmother didnt trust the gummint either after the failure of the conservative gummint under Hoover to remedy a destroyed economy and distrust in banks. When she died, we found about $5K in cash in the mattress, $3K hidden in a laundry hamper in the basement, $2K in the rear seats of her ’88 Chevy Caprice, and nearly $20K hidden all over Baltimore in S&Ls; money none of us knew she had.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Ever hear of credit unions? Paying with cash? No?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    What does Akerson drive? Just curious.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    These EVs need a way to connect the battery’s output to a home’s electrical panel. That way, you could charge your EV at work for free and then transfer the energy home to use at night, leaving just enough range to get back to work the next day. If EVs had this feature, I might buy one. If the car’s a hybrid, you’d also have a massive ICE backup generator.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      I recall lots of noise about this from Toyota and Nissan after the earthquake. I’m not sure if it’s commercially available or not.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        They do (the Leaf) – but available only in Japan. Given the potential liability and the stupidity of the average American, and our sue crazy society, I doubt we’ll ever see it here.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      E46M3_333, $4500-American, buys you a Honda EU6500iSA Inverter AC-generator from Generators Direct in Illinois. (no tax and free shipping in the US)

      I bought one last year after one of my Ingersoll-Rand generators ate itself, and I’m very happy with the Honda. It beats the hell out of my noisy 15KW Generac and is a lot more portable than that 500 pound monstrosity is.

      The Honda weighs 256 pounds topped-off with gas and oil and I have it mounted on a very small Coleman Trailer (3ftx3ft) that can be towed by a car, truck or even a 1000cc or larger motorcycle. Finished the project a couple of weeks ago and it already has paid me dividends over and again in real life. Took it camping. Took it to work sites. All good.

      I got this idea from a picture I saw at another site where someone who owned a Leaf had mounted an Inverter Generator on a tiny trailer to be towed behind the Leaf.

      I’ve used it three times in real-world applications so far and have safely towed it ~250 miles in total, up and over mountains and on the highways and byways.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Anyone towing generators behind EVs should be ashamed of themselves. Besides looking dumb, it’s not cost-effective and tells everyone you bought the wrong car.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          It could fill in in a pinch, and add additional cargo space or a bed for stuff like HDTVs, motorcycles, etc. I like the idea, especially if they were rentable at the EV dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There are business springing up that are providing these units. If you get a commercial unit it probably will cost you a lot. But if you can build the generator/trailer combo yourself, it shouldn’t cost that much.

          I don’t own an EV but I bought a Coleman trailer for $100 (used) at a garage sale, mounted my $4500 Honda EU-6500 on it, and I had ready, portable power, that I could use anywhere I go, camping, or whatever.

          http://www.greencarreports.com/news/107 … ry-trailer

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Your example has nothing to do with the problem I posed. Congrats on extending your EV’s range. I’m talking about powering a house electrical panel from an EV. The car needs some sort of external DC output which could be connected to an external inverter. I could probably hack something like this if I owned a Tesla, but it should not be that difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @EM46M3_333:

      Besides the ethical challenge of stealing your employer’s electricity for use at home, the fact that my monthly electrical cost for the Leaf is less than $15 hardly makes this worth it.

      Not to mention the challenge of policing your energy use at home so you have enough reserve to make it to work in the morning.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No one said he was “stealing” electricity from his employer, many do install chargers and let their employees charge for free for the tax breaks and/or as a perk.

        I have a couple of friends with Leaf and a 3rd who was considering buying one. He decided against it and bought another TDI Jetta despite the fact that his employer had offered to instal a charging station and let him charge for free. However he did not like his DSG TDI at all so after about 6 mos he traded it for a Volt. With his commute distance if he doesn’t want to go anywhere before or after work his commute is free thanks to that free charger at work. He hasn’t even had a 220v charger installed at his house in the 6 mos he has owned the Leaf. YTD about 3/4 of his driving has been all electric. This week thanks to a trip to Portland he did have to break down and put gas in the tank for the 4th time.

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Electricity costs $0.38/KWh here on a marginal basis. CA has an EV rate around $0.12/KWh. Why not charge the EV at $0.12/KWh, then cross-connect the EV battery to the house to run it for far less than the $0.38/KWh? Is that stealing, or merely responding to the raping the state is doing by charging $0.38 for a commodity that should cost $0.10 KWh?

        I called them about the rates. They said “it’s to encourage conservation.” Great. What if your boss cut your pay, and said, “I’m cutting your pay to encourage conservation” as if it’s some sort of positive thing?

        And the car could be smart enough to cut power to the external source at a pre-programmed state-of-charge. The external inverter would connect power back to the mains when the EV battery cut off. Simple.

        • 0 avatar
          gslippy

          Yikes.

          My electric company here in western PA charges $0.054 around the clock, with no special rate for EVs. Such a cheap rate makes the gasoline savings more meaningful.

          • 0 avatar
            Type57SC

            You’re probably just looking at the gen or dist cost and not the full cost. take the full amount of kwh and bottom line cost on your bill and divide the two. PA should be about $0.13 all in at a minimum.

          • 0 avatar
            Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

            Best way is to take the billed price and divide by the # of kWH delivered. For me it’s a smidge above 11 cents/kWh, or ~4 cents a mile when not using the unlimited 240V chargers in Austin and surrounding areas.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I still wish I could have afforded a Volt last summer. Greatest thing since sliced bread, IMHO.

    Why do I think so? It’s like a locomotive after battery-only juice runs out, the engine drives the generator which powers the wheels.

    I love locomotives, and one of these would make me happy.

    Gov’t “bailout”? So what, I’m not political. Everyone else is certainly entitled to their opinion.

    I can see this technology expanding until all-electric or some other motive power becomes as practical as ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I like them too and might still get one as my next commuter car.

      But I don’t think that’s how it works. That was what GM claimed, but it was discovered after release that this isn’t technically true. When the battery is depleted, the engine operates the car like a traditional hybrid. No different than a plugin Prius, just bigger batteries.

      I’d love it to be more like a locomotive, maybe the next generation??

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Nope. Once the battery is depleted the gas engine engages to charge the system and hold it at 20% charge (roughly) and maintains normal vehicle operation (like a locomotive, submarine, or cruise ship).

        Under specific situations the energy from the flywheel (forgive me if I don’t get this 100% correct) can engage into the transmission to provide an extra “boost” of power – but unlike say the Prius Plug-In, which can only operate at battery power up to a certain speed, the Volt can run on full electric all day long. The engagement only happens during mountain pass climbing, hard driving, extended passing at high speed.

        There was a huge raging debate when this came out that GM “lied” and I seem to remember the conclusion was it was a very nuanced technicality on whether it is a 100% series hybrid or not – and the whole matter was dropped.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          Well I have to admit I am not too clear on how a locomotive works either, so perhaps they are the same. Thank you for clarifying.

          My biggest issue with the Volt is that the gas-mode fuel economy isn’t very good. For my commute of 30-35 miles each way, I will be in gas mode a good deal of time and the economy isn’t that great compared to other cars. When I get closer to decision time I will do all the math and see what looks like the best option.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Just talk your employer into installing a charging station for the tax breaks it gives them then you could drive home on the employer’s dime and to work on your own w/o using any gas.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Ya, you’re in that range where a traditional Prius, or a CMax would work best for you – or dare I say it, a diesel VW.

            The electric cars math work, sort of, in a hey I make over $100K a year and have money to burn sort of way, if your commute is under say 20 miles one way and especially if you can charge up at work.

            Where my commute is about 11 miles round trip, and all suburban road, I could go three days without plugging in a Volt (which would sit in a climate controlled garage over night) and still likely be 100% electric on the return drive day 3. My electrical cost would be roughly $10 to $15 a month, and gasoline – well I would be in that tank every few thousand mile club.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I could charge at work, and they would probably put in a station for them too, great company I work for.

            I have considered a Leaf, as I could do it in the range it has, and the $199/mo lease is tempting. But the Volt is tempting too, no range anxiety, more flexible for the times I do have to go farther to client sites or whatever.

            I also do not commute daily, I work from home at least half the time, so the rest of the time the car would just be driven around the neighborhood for errands and such.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          GM _could_ have pleased the serial purists, but doing so would have cost efficiency, so I’m glad they told the purists to f–k off.

          However, a fun way to screw up your MPG average in a Volt is to run the battery down to say 3mi range, then engage Mountain mode. The motor will run continuously, whether the car’s in motion or stopped, until it can get back to 10% charge or thereabouts. Do that just as you hit bumper-to-bumper traffic and you can get mileage in the low 20s.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            From what I’ve read mountain mode will recharge or maintain the battery at about 40% SOC.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            The point is that you have to really try hard to get a Volt into the 20′s.
            Most people (who use the car as intended) are getting 60-70MPG equivalent, even with the cost of charging thrown in.
            Big middle finger to Big Oil… amen.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Me, I think interstate trucks should have locomotive-style hybridization, with enough battery to make driving in traffic or bunking overnight without burning fuel, and with motors in the trailer for improved power and braking (fringe benefit: no more jackknifing), though they’d need to be ISO container trailers I think.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    BWAHAHAHAHA

    Ahem…sorry about that. “World’s Best-Selling EV” is kind of like “World’s Best-Selling Supercar”…there aren’t enough of them (and the race is very close) to make the claim as amazing as it sounds.

    Still, Congrats to Chvey and especially the Volt development team. Gotta build on this success, no matter how small it is. ELR’s a good move. They should also make some kind of Volt with more cargo space and seating for five or even seven.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      An Orlando volt shouldn’t be hard. The weight might be a struggle for the powertrain though.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, in a market of millions of new vehicles sold each year, a mere “over 100,000″ of PEVs sold is just a drop in the bucket. It’s a “feel good” statistic for the green weenies and tree huggers. Nothing more. The niche in real life is so small, it’s a statistical non-occurrence.

      But what makes it so great for all of us who need to buy our own transportation is that we have the choice to buy what we want, even if we want a PEV with a ICE-generator on board like the Volt.

      What I despise is the fact that Big Block enthusiasts like myself find ourselves with a decreasing choice of big V8 engines for our vehicles, every time we go shopping for a new car or truck. The deck is stacked against us!

      For those of us not worried about the price of gasoline or its availability, we find ourselves having to step up to ever larger and heavier trucks and SUVs in order to be able to get that Big V8 we crave.

      Like most, I don’t need anything heavier than a half-ton truck, but I will be forced to buy a 3/4 ton the next time I go shopping, if I want that big brute V8 (which I do).

      And were I to buy an SUV for myself I would have to opt for a V8 Grand Cherokee, or Suburban, or Sequoia.

      So we see the ‘fuel economy’ crowd being catered to by the government, while the Big Block enthusiasts are being discriminated against.

      That hardly seems fair in America, a country that prides itself on fairness and equality. Seems to me the green-weenies are a lot more ‘equal’ than those who like traditional V8 ICEs in their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        The apple-pie side of me agrees with you, but wanting a big-brute V8 just because it’s a V8 seems irrational.

        The ‘government’ isn’t telling the mfrs what to make, but actual sales performance and CAFE rules do. One reason V8 cars are so rare is that people can’t afford to drive them.

        If you really want a V8 car/truck, consider these mfrs: GM, Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Dodge, Ferrari, Hyundai, Jaguar, and Jeep. I may have missed a few.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          It’s no more irrational than wanting to pay an arm and a leg just to own an EV or Hybrid, or a V12 Mercedes, BMW or Rolls.

          It’s what the inner you wants. In my case it dates back to my youth when my dad raced dragsters powered by the venerable Hemi 426.

          The government mandates and CAFE standards make it impossible for manufacturers to offer big V8s in anything but utilitarian vehicles, like a 3/4-ton pickup truck or a niche specialty vehicle like the 5.7 Grand Cherokee or SRT8, the Chrysler 300 SRT, Corvette, Mustang, the Suburban or Sequoia.

          In a few years, my guess is by model year 2016, the V8 engine in half-ton trucks, sedans and SUVs will have pretty much disappeared, or limited to production runs of 5000 or less.

          There will always be SOME specialty and luxury vehicles that will offer a big V8, but they will come at a price most of us are not willing, or not able to pay.

          For those of us who insist on owning a potent V8, it means that we have to re-arrange our priorities in life in order to buy that big V8 truck, SUV or sedan. And that’s what people are doing already.

          Until we run out of oil EV sales will be limited to the true believers and aficionados. The number of EVs and Hybrids sold in today’s market is insignificant.

          Most Americans view the cost of gasoline and diesel as just part of the cost of living.

          If you don’t have the money, it’s a problem. But then if you don’t have the money, buying any form of transportation, even an EV, is a problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Or they will just give you a “free” EV with every purchase of that honkin V8 powered car to offset it in CAFE calculations.

          • 0 avatar
            gslippy

            @Scoutdude:

            My other two cars have 10 cylinders… combined.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            Yes, EV’s are a kind of “slavery”, and when the supply of gasoline is interrupted, and people are waiting in line at gas stations (as I remembering doing in the 70′s) they will become a form of freedom.
            I, for one, don’t want our soldiers fighting and dying in overseas hellholes to maintain our wasteful lifestyle, and to the benefit of the stinking oil companies – and I think that an increasing number of Americans are feeling the same way.
            I sure would love it if Iran threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz, and we could reply” “Knock yourself out.”

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            @shaker

            That is just a psychic benefit of buying an EV. It has no connection to reality. Collective EV purchases have no impact whatsoever on anything you are discussing. The worldwide demand for oil will continue to increase, regardless. You are simply making yourself feel better about your purchase, which is fine, since you are paying a higher price in practicality and taking a tax transfer from others in the process.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          CAFE rules are the government telling you what you can make.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I’m starting to see Volts in the western suburbs of Minneapolis on a pretty regular basis. Gas was almost $4 dollars a gallon for awhile and it’s not even summer. If it hits $4.50 by June watch Volts sales improve. GM needs to stick with this technology, A lot of low hanging fruit with the current design to improve the Gen 2 Voltec. And they need to offer something that seats more than 4 which is one of the reasons the spouse wasn’t sold on the current one with our family of 5.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ditto. I looked at a Volt and concluded it was too small for my needs. If they made a C-Max, Prius-V, or HHR sized version (not an HHR – but HHR sized) I would be on that like white on rice. It would meet me needs perfectly. Electric only for my commute and running around for shopping etc. etc. but range extended for my 100 mile R/T weekly drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      The Gen2 or Gen3 really needs (among other things) more battery and much higher charging rates. >10kW charger would be ideal, coupled with say 25kWh of next-gen battery tech which should cost and weigh less than the current battery, and it needs to be under the floor.

  • avatar

    A significant chunk of Leaf and PIP sales come from Japan, where the Volt doesn’t compete. The new cheaper leaf should soon start outselling everyone and stay at the top. $21,300 after tax savings is at least $12,000 less than the cheapest Volt. I think the bloomberg piece predicting 225,000 sales for 2013 is a bit optimistic. I expect EV sales to plateau around 150,000 units a year unless there are significant improvements in battery range and charge up times.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      GM would seem to agree with your assessment, predicting about a 20% increase in market for 2013.

      225K units seems AWFUL optimistic to me. But lets be clear, that was Bloomberg that said it (the publication) not GM or a GM executive.*

      * Not directed at you alluster, but care to bet that come this time next year SOMEONE in the B&B will publish something on the lines of, “GM management blows it again, predicting 225K EV sales in 2013 last year…”

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Oh, and in other related news, Tesla quietly buried in their latest 10K filing that the Model X is delayed by a year.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/tesla-model-x-delayed-by-one-year.html

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Saw that. Broke my heart. I was just planning my 15-foot tall garage to park it in.

      Seriously, the X will be cool, but I don’t buy Tesla’s excuse for the 1-year delay.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I have to agree. If the reason was Model S success and ramp up of capacity, you would think Elon would be on the mountain yelling it out as a positive. Because it was buried in the 10K with zero comment, fanfare, and no comment when asked – it makes me concerned.

        When you look at Tesla’s balance sheet and cashflow, they are not a healthy company financially. They missed their delivery target in 2012 by 40% (prediction 5K units of the S, actually about 3K).

        Given the overall weakness of the electrics in general, and their price point, I have to wonder what happens when the enthusiasm wanes. I know they are doing the trade-in program on the Roadsters but they can only do the “cell phone exchange model” so many times with their existing base before they will lose interest. I can see going from a Roadster to an S, but an S to the next S??? Tougher sell, especially if the newer S is cheaper and has depreciated the current S harshly.

        The Roadster is unique in that no more are being built and Tesla doesn’t have a replacement on the immediate road map. Future plans for the S has to be to build them cheaper and faster to survive.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Yeah, the X’s doors would prove to be quite the insurance claim in any parking garage I’ve ever been in. :-)

  • avatar
    BrianL

    Do you have EV sales by country or market? I would be interested to know that.

  • avatar

    It’s only been in the past year or so that any manufacturer has sold more EVs than the Detroit Electric Car company did in the early days of the auto industry, about 20,000 units over the course of about 20 years. Offhand I think their peak production/sales year was 1914, with about 4,500 sold.

    Of course the overall size of the automotive market is substantially larger than it was in 1914. Still, props must be given to GM, Nissan, Toyota and Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Still, props must be given to GM, Nissan, Toyota and Tesla.”

      Don’t forget Ford! The Boeing 787 battery incident shows what a great job the auto companies have done in engineering their vehicles. It isn’t easy developing a vehicle with lithium batteries and so far they’ve been relatively incident free. I thought we’d see more problems like the Boeing incident, but I was wrong.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    A friend of mine recently purchased a Volt and he is quite happy with it so far. He had been considering a Leaf but purchased a Jetta TDI instead since he had been happy with the last one. However 6 mos living with the DSG and it was traded in on the Volt.

    The thing that annoys me is that after I learned he had purchased it I said you’ll have to take me for a drive in it and let me check it out. His son’s car then needed to go in the shop and the loaner car could not be driven by someone under 21 so Dad drove the loaner while the Son drove the Volt. Then my son went with his son and he got to drive the Volt. Then last night my wife said she got a ride in it from my friend. I the “car guy” still haven’t even got a look inside. :(

  • avatar
    Vatcha

    EV battery pack question …

    From what I’ve read the cost of a battery pack is about 50% batteries and 50% the rest of the stuff.

    When it comes time to replace the batteries will you be able to just replace the batteries? Or will the whole pack have to be replaced? Or will it depend on the manufacturer?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      For any car with batteries, you can only replace the pack.

      A few reasons are:

      1. Battery packs are built with protection circuits that prevent Bad Things from happening to the cells if they are attacked by high temperature, dirty power, charger malfunctions, etc. Separating the cells from the pack is a high liability issue, since the old cells are no longer protected in the same way. Tesla’s cells (to date) are commercially-available 18650 cells, which also have some limited built-in protection in each one of the 7000-some cells they use in each car. Still, there are shipping and handling regulations for such cells, so that mere mortals cannot handle them.

      2. Replacing individual cells is economically unviable. You may as well change all of them when considering the labor to do it.

      3. On a complex pack such as Tesla’s, I’m guessing it’s almost physically impossible to change out individual cells. Part of their magic is how they electro-mechanically link all those cells. Plus, you’d need to know which ones were bad.

      4. Coupling aged cells with new ones would be bad, just as it is for a flashlight.

      I don’t know about cell replacement costs. Nissan refuses to offer a price, which tells you it’s scary high. I’ve seen numbers around $10k for the Leaf’s pack. I recall Nissan saying that when it comes time for users to need new packs, they’d “work out” something with them so it’s near Nissan’s cost for the customers to replace them.

      The looming pack cost is one reason I’m leasing.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        There are companies that “rebuild Prius battery packs, ie put new cells inside. I’ve also heard that it is not that uncommon for the hard core Prius fans to mix and match cells from different battery packs that have one of tow bad cells in them to extend battery life. The first gen Prius had issues with the seals on the cells so most of them were disassembled by the dealer techs to reseal the cells.

        One of my friends with a Leaf has been inside his pack to bypass the internal charger for better charging performance and to be able to use a range trailer. It won’t take long before the other practices become common for the Leaf.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Two of the top three aren’t EVs at all. But Bloomberg is just a fast news media anyway, so they don’t need to care about the difference between ICE and electrical motor.


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